Philip II Facts
Philip II (382-336 B.C.) was a king of Macedon, a conqueror, and a leader of the Corinthian League. He suppressed his feudal barons, forged a professional army infused with a national spirit, and developed novel military tactics.
Philip II was born in Macedon to King Amyntas II of the royal house of Argeadae and his Illyrian wife, Eurydice. Philip cherished his Greek heritage. Some Greeks, especially the hostile Athenian Demosthenes, disclaimed his and the Macedonians' claim to membership in the Greek race and labeled Philip a barbarian or non-Greek. This left him with a marked inferiority complex. Culturally the Macedonians were less advanced than their southern Greek neighbors, had remained rural rather than urban, and retained a strongly Indo-European feudal and tribal sociopolitical structure. As king, Philip would actively work to import Greek culture to Macedon and to increase trade and urbanization.
As a youth of 15, Philip was sent as a hostage to Thebes, where he lived for 3 years. The military and political ideas acquired there greatly influenced him. He became king in 359 B.C., after his older brother Perdikkas was killed in battle fighting the Illyrians. As regent for Perdikkas's young son Amyntas, Philip jealously guarded the throne against three pretenders whom foreign powers supported. Only 24 years old, Philip acted with skill and energy, defeating the hostile powers and winning the army's support.
Philip ruled his feudal nobles as chieftain, or "first among equals, " in a highly aristocratic structure. His power, given to him by the chief nobles, included supreme generalship of the aristocratic cavalry and infantry forces, supreme judge as leader, or father, of the tribes, and chief priest. By acclamation, the assembly of the army, which possessed the right and duty, confirmed Philip's privileges.
Forging a Professional Army
Philip extended his dominance over the northern Macedonian tribes and their petty chieftains and thereby established the foundations of Macedonian greatness in the north. The landed nobility, or select "Companions, " were bound to serve him in a feudal manner as cavalry. Philip was perhaps the first to organize the free peasantry and shepherds into a regular infantry, to incorporate them into military territorial divisions, and to raise their political status, allowing them to participate in the assembly of the army and to obtain its privileges. This strengthened his royal position and diminished the power of the aristocracy.
Philip contracted an alliance with Neoptolemos, king of the Illyrian Molossians, and married his daughter Olympias in 357 B.C. The proud, impulsive, and independent queen bore him Alexander (later, Alexander the Great) in 356 B.C. and a daughter, Cleopatra, the next year.
Building an Empire
In 357 B.C. Philip seized Thracian Amphipolis and the silver and gold mines of Mt. Pangeios, which produced 1, 000 talents annually. The mines were the foundation of his power. His new silver and gold coins quickly structured Aegean commerce. Athens retaliated by claiming protection over Amphipolis and waged 11 years of intermittent warfare. Following the Sacred War over Delphi, which erupted in 356 B.C., Philip became involved in southern Thessaly. In 348 B.C. he destroyed Chalcidian Olynthos.
By 340 B.C. Philip held the territory from the Hellespont to Thermopylae. He had also pressed eastward toward the Bosporus and employed, for the first time in Greece, the Syracusan siege machines against Perinthos and Byzantion. Southern Greece feared Philip's empire, but many hailed him as the only man capable of ending their petty, parochial interstate wars. In his Philip (346 B.C.), the Athenian Isocrates urged Philip to unite Greece in a military federation and bring peace and concord to the Greeks by waging war against the Persian Empire.
A minor disruption, again centered at Delphi, brought Philip southward as arbiter, but hostile Thebes and Athens gathered forces against him at Boeotian Chaeronea in the summer of 338 B.C.. He defeated the Greeks, and the following winter a meeting of all the Greek states except Sparta was held at Corinth. There Philip constructed a league of states. He was automatically elected commander in chief of the self-governing military allies.
In 337 B.C. Philip prepared Macedon and the league to invade Persia. By early 336 B.C. his general, Parmenion, crossed the Hellespont, but at home jealous noblemen and Philip's wife plotted his assassination. At the festive wedding of his daughter, Cleopatra, to King Alexander of Epirus, Philip was stabbed to death.
Further Reading on Philip II
Biographies of Philip's son, Alexander the Great, usually devote the first chapter to Philip and Macedon. A thorough and scholarly work is Ulrich Wilcken, Alexander the Great (1931; trans. 1932), and interesting and insightful is the study by Andrew Robert Burn, Alexander the Great and the Hellenistic Empire (1947; 2d rev. ed. 1964). Richard Haywood, Ancient Greece and the Near East (1964), contains an excellent description of the rise of Macedon and of Philip's Greek world. See also The Cambridge Ancient History, vol. 6: Macedon, 401-301 B.C. (1927), edited by J. B. Bury, S. A. Cook, and F. E. Adcock.
Additional Biography Sources
Cawkwell, George, Philip of Macedon, London; Boston: Faber & Faber, 1978.
Ellis, John R., Philip II and Macedonian imperialism, London: Thames and Hudson, 1976.
Hammond, N. G. L., Philip of Macedon, Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1994.
Philip II of Macedon: a life from the ancient sources, Westport, Conn.: Praeger, 1992.
Philip of Macedon, Athens: Ekdotike Athenon, 1980.
Philip II (1527-1598) was king of Spain from 1556 to 1598. During his reign the Spanish Empire was severely challenged and its economic, social, and political institutions strained almost to the breaking point.
The son of Emperor Charles V, Philip II inherited the larger portion of his father's dominions: Spain, the Low Countries (basically the Netherlands and Belgium of today), Franche-Comté, Sicily and southern Italy, the duchy of Milan, and Spain's colonies in the New World, including Mexico and much of South America. But the inheritance inevitably included the host of problems which his father had left unsolved or which were incapable of being solved. The other part of Charles's dominions, the Holy Roman Empire, was bequeathed to his brother Ferdinand, Philip's uncle.
Philip was born in Valladolid on May 21, 1527, at the outset of the religious and political wars that divided Europe and drained the resources of every major European country. France, the principal opponent of Emperor Charles's ambition, was likewise the chief rival of Philip's Spain. When he acceded to the throne in 1556, the two countries were still at war; peace was concluded at Cateau-Cambrésis in 1559, largely because both states were financially exhausted.
The need to find money and enforce order in his territories led to Philip's clash with his Dutch subjects, a clash that produced the first war for national independence in modern European history and eventually drew Philip into the ill-fated Armada expedition. Spain's resources, including its commercial and military lifeline to northern and southern Italy, were meanwhile threatened in the Mediterranean by the Turkish fleet and the incursions of pirates, largely operating out of North African ports.
On the one side combating rebellious Protestant subjects and on the other confronting the advance of Islam, Philip II has often been depicted as the secular arm of the Catholic Church, a religious zealot who sought to erase heresy and infidelity through military conquest. This, however, is a simplification and is misleading. He was indeed a devout Catholic and vitally concerned with the suppression of "heresy" in all the territory over which he ruled. But his policies and choices must also be viewed in the light of what he considered to be Spanish national interests.
Philip's first marriage (1543) was to his cousin Maria of Portugal, who lived but 2 years, leaving a son, Don Carlos. To consolidate his empire and afford protection for his holdings in the Low Countries, Charles then married Philip to Mary Tudor of England, the Catholic queen of a basically Protestant country. Philip's stay in England was not a happy one, and Mary died in 1558 to be succeeded by her half sister, Elizabeth. His ties with England broken, Philip returned to Spain via Flanders in 1559. In that year the peace treaty with France was signed. The temporary harmony between the two powers was symbolized by Philip's marriage with Elizabeth of Valois, the daughter of the king of France, who proved to be his favorite wife.
Philip had succeeded his father as king of Spain in 1556. Unlike Charles V, Philip was to be a "national" monarch instead of a ruler who traveled from one kingdom to another. Though he was to travel widely throughout the Iberian Peninsula, he would never leave it again.
Personally, Philip was fair, spoke softly, and had an icy self-mastery; in the words of one of his ministers, he had a smile that cut like a sword. He immersed himself in an ocean of paperwork, studying dispatches and documents and adding marginal comments on them while scores of other documents and dispatches piled up on tables and in anterooms.
With the problems of communication in Philip's far-flung empire, once a decision was made it could not be undone. As king, he preferred to reserve all final decisions to himself; he mistrusted powerful and independent personalities and rarely reposed much confidence in aides. This personal stamp of authority during Philip's reign was in sharp contrast to the era of minister-favorites in 17th-century Spain. His private life included a delight in art, in the cultivation of flowers, in religious reading (his reign coincided with the great age of Spanish mysticism), and above all in the conception and building of the Escorial, the royal palace outside Madrid whose completion was perhaps the greatest joy of his life.
A combination palace, monastery, and mausoleum, the Escorial was Philip's preferred place for working. In a complex that included a place for his own tomb, naturally the thought of his successor concerned Philip greatly. His son Don Carlos was abnormal, mentally and physically, and on no account fit to become a responsible ruler. Philip was aware that contacts had been made between his son and political enemies. He had Don Carlos arrested, and what followed is one of the great historical enigmas: Don Carlos died on July 25, 1568, under mysterious circumstances that have never been explained satisfactorily. Did Philip have his son executed or did he die of natural causes? There is no persuasive proof on one side or the other. This incident was one of the most publicized in Philip's reign and one which naturally served to blacken his reputation. In any event, his fourth marriage, to Anne of Austria, produced five children, one of whom survived to succeed as Philip III.
Relations with Rome
During the Council of Trent (1545-1563) there was usually strong doctrinal accord between the papacy and Spanish bishops. The major difference lay in varying interpretations of the rights of Spanish bishops and their king visà-vis the Holy See. The King had almost total control over the Spanish Catholic Church, and although Spanish arms could advance Catholic interests, if Philip's Spain were to become supreme in Europe the Pope risked being reduced to a chaplain. One momentous occasion when they worked together came in the joint venture of Spain, the Vatican, and Venice against the Turkish navy. At Lepanto, in 1571, the Catholic forces devastated the enemy fleet. It was the most signal victory of Philip's career. Yet, although the Turks soon rebounded, Philip was never again to ally himself so strongly with Rome. The relations between Spain and the Vatican illustrate how senseless it is to speak of the "monolithic nature" of Catholicism in this era.
In an attempt to shore up his depleted treasury and instill more centralization into his dominions, Philip disregarded the prerogatives and local traditions in the Low Countries, the most prosperous of the territories under his rule. In the 1560s he sought to exact more taxes, to impose more bishops, and to reshuffle the administration, thus provoking an increasingly militant opposition.
Protestant attacks upon Catholic churches, coupled with increasing resistance from the predominantly Catholic population, were followed by a severe response from Spain. A Spanish army moved against the rebels, executed several of their leaders, and opened the way to a broader war which lasted throughout Philip's reign. It was truly a war for national independence, with brutality and heroism on both sides and a growing identification of Protestantism (especially Calvinism) with opposition to Spain's political, religious, and economic policies. The rebels, entrenched in the north, declared themselves independent under the name of the United Provinces. The southern part (roughly the area comprising Belgium) remained under Spanish control.
Since the Dutch were subsidized by the English, and since Spanish supply ships could not safely move through the English Channel, Philip concluded that a conquest of England was necessary for the pacification of the Netherlands. But at the same time that the Dutch were in revolt, there were repeated clashes between the French royal armies and French Calvinists. The ups and downs of the warfare in France and in the Netherlands were viewed as barometers of the fortunes of European Protestantism versus Catholicism. After Philip's death, a truce with the Dutch was arranged in 1609. Though war was to break out again, the independence of the United Provinces was recognized in 1648.
The need to cut off English subsidies and control the English Channel so as to throttle the Dutch revolt led Philip to undertake the Armada, the most famous event of his reign. The plan was for a huge fleet to rendezvous with Spanish troops in the Netherlands and then proceed to the military conquest of England, serving Philip's military and political ends and immeasurably injuring the Protestant cause. The skill of the English navy and adverse weather conditions led to a total fiasco. Though most of his ships eventually returned home to port and though Philip still dreamed of a future campaign, the expense of the expedition and the psychological shock of failure resulted in the "invincible" Armada's becoming the symbol of Philip's failure to achieve a Spanish predominance in Europe.
As Philip sought to put down the rebellion in the Netherlands, he fomented dissension in France. French Protestants were sometimes subsidized by Spanish agents to ensure confusion in the enemy camp. Philip tried (unsuccessfully) to install his own candidate on the French throne, and Spanish troops became embroiled in the French wars. The struggle with France drew Spanish strength away from the Netherlands and so eased the pressure on the Dutch rebels. Peace was reached at the Treaty of Vervins in 1598, several months before Philip's death.
The complexity and extent of these foreign ventures had, of course, a tremendous impact on the economy and life of Spain. There was a constant need for money and in a country where only careers in the Church and the army carried prestige and where commerce and manual labor in general were frowned upon, the already-staggering economy was crippled by a series of disasters. The costly adventures abroad were punctuated by abrasive relations between Philip and his Spanish domains over taxation and jurisdiction; a diminishing flow of silver from the American mines; a decreasing market for Spanish goods; a severe inflation; several declarations of government bankruptcy; and an agricultural crisis that sent thousands into the cities and left vast areas uncultivated. All these, together with plagues and the defeat of the Armada, were crushing blows—economically, socially, and psychologically.
Any one of these myriad problems and crises would have taxed the ingenuity of a government. Taken together and exacerbated by the strain of incessant warfare, they shook Spain to its roots. The union of Portugal to Spain in 1580 may have given Philip satisfaction but hardly lightened his burdens. He worked methodically, even fatalistically, puzzled by the workings of a God who would permit such calamities to occur. Spain had already entered into a period of sharp decline at his death on Sept. 13, 1598, at El Escorial.
Further Reading on Philip II
Although it does not emphasize social and economic issues as much as contemporary studies do, Roger Bigelow Merriman, The Rise of the Spanish Empire in the Old World and in the New, vol. 4 (1934), remains a superb study of Philip II and his reign based on extensive archival research. A good introduction to the Spain of Philip II, with special emphasis on social and economic forces, is John H. Elliott, Imperial Spain, 1469-1716 (1963); it has a fine bibliography. Also excellent are John Lynch, Spain under the Habsburgs, vol. 1 (1964), and H.G. Koenigsberger, The Habsburgs and Europe, 1516-1660 (1971). A lively narrative enriched by verbal portraits of important figures of the time is Edward Grierson, The Fatal Inheritance: Philip II and the Spanish Netherlands (1969). The Armada expedition is brilliantly recounted by Garrett Mattingly in The Armada (1959), one of the finest and most interesting products of modern historical scholarship. Recommended for general historical background are Pieter Geyl, The Revolt of the Netherlands, 1555-1609 (1932; 2d ed. 1958), and John H. Elliott, Europe Divided, 1559-1598 (1969).
Philip II (1165-1223), sometimes called Philip Augustus, ruled France from 1180 to 1223. He made the Crown more powerful than any feudal lord, more than tripled the royal domain, and turned the balance of power between France and England in favor of France.
Born in Paris on Aug. 21, 1165, Philip became the seventh Capetian king of France in 1180, when his father, Louis VII, died. As he grew to manhood, he became distrustful, cynical, and crafty, but physically sickly and tense. He had a practical intelligence but was not particularly interested in study.
Wars with England
Philip inherited from his father the difficult problem of trying to defend the small royal domain centering on Paris and Orléans against the much more extensive holdings of Henry II of England. By inheritance, marriage, and war, Henry had acquired lands extending from Normandy on the English Channel through Maine, Anjou, and Aquitaine to the Pyrenees. Although young Philip faced seemingly hopeless odds, he exploited the jealousy of Henry's sons, and when Henry invested his favored youngest son, John, with all the King's Continental holdings except Normandy, John's older brother Richard became an ally of Philip and fought his aging father. In 1189 Henry was forced to recognize Richard as heir to all his lands and Philip as his feudal lord for his lands in France. Shortly afterward, Henry II died.
The power struggle had been interrupted by the preparations for the Third Crusade following the fall of Jerusalem in 1187. Now Philip reluctantly joined Frederick I (Frederick Barbarossa) and Richard I, who had become king of England on the death of Henry II. Philip and Richard went to the East together but soon began to quarrel. When the Anglo-French forces recaptured Acre, Philip felt that he had done enough crusading and returned to France to take advantage of Richard's absence in the East.
Richard, unable to capture Jerusalem from Saladin, returned home through Austria but was taken prisoner there and held for ransom. He did not reach the West until May 1194, and in his absence Philip had joined forces with John to recover Normandy. The ensuing warfare between Philip and Richard ended when Richard was killed (1199) in a minor skirmish in central France and John became king of England.
Philip now became John's enemy and used feudal law to dispossess him of his Continental holdings. In 1202 he summoned John to his court to answer a charge made against him, but John refused to come, and Philip therefore declared John's holdings in France forfeit, occupying Normandy and all English lands north of the Loire River. With the occupation of Normandy, the Capetians now had access to the English Channel and deprived John of easy access to his Continental fiefs.
Relationship with the Pope
Although preoccupied with defending his kingdom against England, Philip was not unmindful of the opportunities for acquisitions in southern France. In 1207 Pope Innocent III invited Philip to lead a crusade there against the spread of heresy, but Philip declined to take part unless the Pope made John stop fighting in Poitou—something Innocent III could not do. A decade later Philip was still avoiding direct participation in the crusade, but he did permit his son, Louis of France, to lead a French army into Toulouse.
In January 1213, John was excommunicated and deposed for his spoliation of the Church. His troubles with his own English barons encouraged Pope Innocent III to urge Philip to invade England, seize John, and put Louis of France, now married to a niece of John's, on the English throne. But when John turned over England to the Pope and received it back as a papal fief, Innocent ordered Philip to give up the invasion.
John, restored to power with papal protection, then organized an Anglo-Flemish-German coalition to recover his French fiefs. In 1214 Philip met the challenge by sending his son Louis of France as leader of a French army against John, who had led an attack from southwestern France. But John fled rather than fight. Meanwhile, Philip led another French army northeastward from Paris to meet John's ally, Otto IV of Germany, who was about to invade France with an army of English, German, and Flemish knights. Philip crushed this army at Bouvines on July 27, 1214. The students in Paris celebrated the French victory for 7 days and 7 nights.
Bouvines was one of the decisive battles of European history because it led to the ruin of John, upset the balance of power in Europe in favor of France for over a century, and marked the end of the German Empire as the dominant political power in the Christian West. After Bouvines, John returned to England, where he died in 1216. Philip was able to live out his life in peace, certain of Capetian ascendancy.
While Philip was enlarging his kingdom, he was also developing and instituting a plan of civil service whereby men were given high office on the basis of competence rather than hereditary right. To assure obedience in the outlying provinces, where distance encouraged independence, Philip instituted salaried bailiffs responsible for the administrative, military, and judicial supervision of the areas assigned to them.
Philip encouraged the growth of town governments by selling charters and privileges to them, and thus he won the support of town bourgeoisie against the restless nobility. Most of the towns granted new charters were on the frontiers of the royal domain. For Philip they were defensive posts with military obligations. Incomes from this source, from the fees levied on foreign merchants and fairs for protection, and from the profits of justice gave the King the money needed to finance a professional army and government bureaucracy. By the time Philip died, he had become the richest and most powerful lord in the realm.
Philip loved Paris, which during his reign became the religious, political, and academic capital of France. It was Philip who gave the first charter to the University of Paris. Written after a town-and-gown riot, it recognized the right of students to enjoy clerical status and autonomy. Philip also built a wall around Paris for its defense and, in 1186, ordered the streets paved with stone to overcome the air pollution and stench caused by garbage and other household waste thrown into the streets and the effluvia of the pigs and other animals that roamed about.
Ill since September 1222, Philip died at Mantes on July 14, 1223, while on his way to Paris. He left France prosperous and at peace, and the strongest power in western Europe. He was called Augustus by his biographer, Rigord, who compared him to the Roman caesars because he had enlarged the realm and increased its income.
Further Reading on Philip II
The most thorough study of Philip II is in German. In English, Philip is discussed in more general works on his time: Achille Luchaive, Social France at the Time of Philip Augustus (1912); Charles Petit-Dutaillis, The Feudal Monarchy in France and England from the Tenth to the Thirteenth Century (1936); Robert Fawtier, The Capetian Kings of France: Monarchy and Nation, 987-1328 (1962); and Kenneth Setton, A History of the Crusades (2 vols., 1962), which includes a discussion of the Third Crusade.